News, Policy & Media

09Jun

Antibody testing nears 200,000 a week

Last week saw more than 194,000 antibody tests for COVID-19 carried out in the UK after Government announced the roll-out of these tests for NHS workers and care home staff. The figures were released on Sunday and reveal a large uptake of antibody tests which inform someone of a past infection from the virus. It is hoped that the tests will provide temporary piece of mind to frontline workers and provide a clearer picture on their exposure to coronavirus until present. However, the question of whether immunity from the virus exists and how long it would last if it does, remains unanswered by scientists. Health agencies like WHO have also declined to make any estimates on the subject, maintaining that antibody tests should be recognised as having limitations. Government will also need to highlight that a positive antibody result does not excuse anyone from social distancing requirements.

Lab teams across the UK are working to process COVID-19 test results. At the Royal Preston Hospital, 1,000 antibody test are being processed per day. "Our advanced automation will allow us to perform thousands of tests a day. The team work between the clinical biochemists and microbiologists will have a major impact in our fight against this wretched disease”, said Dr. Martin Myers, clinical biochemist. Full roll-out of this type of testing to the public will take several months. Although they may not change people’s situation in the long-run, the data emerging from testing results across the UK will shed light on how the virus has already spread and ways we can use to fight back against the disease.

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